November, 2008


28
Nov 08

It would be funny if it weren’t so scary

1. Someone has started a group in facebook called “Say NO to terrorism.” Its membership is swelling by the minute. Are its members promising to not indulge in terrorism (“say no to drugs” types)? Or is the group meant to inform terrorists (at least the ones who are on facebook) that there are people out there who don’t like getting bombed. Thereby clearing their misconception that their victims enjoy their attacks. I’m scanning the list of members to see if Osama has joined.

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2. Pratibha Patil has put our minds at ease by “strongly condemning” the terror attacks. She probably thought that we were sick with apprehension that she might applaud it. The Deccan Mujaheddin are now expected to be completely demoralized by this presidential rebuke.

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26
Nov 08

100-word Election Speeches – Part 1

It’s a-polling time again. Elections are around the corner and they promise to drive us round the bend. Bearded newsreaders are turning into psephologists and exorcists are now calling themselves “booth capturers”. Distilleries are ramping up production and there is a buzz of anticipation everywhere. But in today’s fast-paced world of snack-sized entertainment, who has the time for long boring campaign speeches. In tune with the times, all parties are preparing short sound-bytes of under 100 words. Here are the offerings of the big three…

Advani – Namaste. I urge you to vote for the BJP so that we can create history ..er..literally. We will go back to the glory of the Vedas. During the polls, we propose to use the Rig-Veda. And after the polls, we promise to distribute idli-veda. All parliamentary proceedings will start with prayer. In fact, we will rename the parliament Shlok Sabha. Give us a chance. All of us are not communal. Our own party is split into extremists and Modirates. So, vote for us. Please lotus rule this time and I promise you Ram Rajya.

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21
Nov 08

Salman Khan for Prime Minister

Yeah, what’s the harm in that? MGR was cut-out to rule TN. Jayalalitha loomed large after him. NTR introduced Rama Rajya in AP much before the BJP coined the phrase. Now Chiranjeevi has jumped into the action. Govinda has been MP No. 1. Jaya Prada, Shatrughan Sinha, Dharmendra… The list is endless. So why not go all the way and get Salmaan Khan to rule the country. Here is a speech that he could use while campaigning…

Deer Voter,

I stand before you with open arms and bare chest to seek your vote. We have heard enough about Rama Rajya. What I promise you is Drama Rajya. You will all get enough Khan-a and peena. And plenty of gaana too. In order to improve the ratings of Lok Sabha TV, I will put together the most attractive council of ministers ever.

I, Salman, will personally look after finance. I promise to sternly punish income tax evasion. There will be no black-bucks in this country.

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13
Nov 08

Manmohan calls Customer Service

The intellectual, soon-to-be U.S. president Obama (whose visiting card, in India, would have said “O  B.A., M.A.”) calls and our PM could not take the call because he was travelling. Vodafone he has!!! After 4 years as PM, he doesn’t even have roaming. What is he? A sub-prime minister? Anyway, Manmohan decides to rectify this and many other problems with his phone. He makes a call to customer service.

Tring tring.

Husky Female Voice : Thank you for calling Vodafone. If you want to continue in English press 1. Hindi mein jaankari ke liye 2 dabaeeye. Woof bow wow bark woof 3 bow-wow.

Manmohan presses 1.

HFV : If you are an existing subscriber press 1…(and so on and on and on)

After pressing more buttons than a liftman in the Empire State Building, Manmohan finally gets through to a customer service officer.

CSO (in the tone of a waiter in an Udipi restaurant rattling off the menu) : Thank-you-for-calling-Vodafone-this-is-Rakesh-here-how-may-I-help-you?

Manmohan Singh : Namaste. This is Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India.

CSO : Yeah sure. And this is the dog from our TVC.

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5
Nov 08

Ramadoss meets Devadoss

Scene : Flower decked khota in Kolkata. Devadoss has just walked in and ordered some sharaab, shabaab and kabaab. He closes his eyes in blissful anticipation of a debauched night that will help him forget Paro. A prod to his ribs makes him open his eyes. Instead of the seductive Chandramukhi, there’s a middle-aged man with a strict moustache eyeing him critically. Devadoss is stupefied.

Devadoss : Hey, who are you? Where’s Chandramukhi?

Ramadoss (graciously) : Good evening. I am Anbumani Ramadoss. Anbu means love in Tamil. So when I heard that this place gives anbu for money, I realized it’s the right place for Anbumani. Hehehe. Incidentally I’ll be your host for the evening.

D : You???? But this is a pleasure palace. It’s a Khota.

R : Not anymore. We have changed the classification of this place from khota to quota. Therefore I have control over it. And believe me, I am going to make this a model institution. With noble AIIMS.

D : Er, how?

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2
Nov 08

The student, the toiler, the soldier, the leader.

I was languidly watching the test match wither away into a draw when suddenly the news flashed that Anil Kumble has decided to retire. We knew it was coming. In fact, some were even giving blatantly subtle hints about it. But regardless of how much we anticipate the retirement of a great cricketer, it still leaves a sense of disbelief when it actually happens. There is a sense of loss that we won’t see that famous run up again. So while the news channels are quickly making edits of “Chak De India” to play tonight with visuals of his ten-wicket haul, while ex-cricketers are hastily sheathing their barbs and polishing their tributes, and while Mallya is wondering if he will save some money on the Royal Challengers budget, here is my piece on a man I admire…

Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar transformed Indian cricket in the 90s. Sachin showed us glimpses of the impossible. He was the magician who lived in a world which seemed illusory to us. A world of what could be. Kumble, on the other hand, lived in our imperfect world. He too was a magician. But his brand of magic was about what is. He showed us how reality could be exploited; how adversity could be ground into submission by human will. His was the art of the possible.

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